Sad news for movie fans. Iconic American filmmaker and legendary TV sitcom creator Garry Marshall has passed away. Perhaps best known for turning Julia Roberts into a household name with his classic 1990 romanic comedy Pretty Woman, the man succumbed to complications from pneumonia following a stroke. A Los Angeles resident most of his life, he died Tuesday night in a Burbank, California hospital.
Garry Marshall was 81 years old at the time of his passing. Along with Pretty Woman, he also helped establish actress Anne Hathaway as a true Hollywood star with both 2001's The Princess Diaries and its 2004 sequel The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. A true legend in both the world of film and television, news of his untimely demise was first announced by Access Hollywood. Cause of death was then later confirmed by TMZ.
Born in the Bronx, New York, Marshall began his career on television writing for Jack Paar's Tonight Show. He would go onto write for The Joey Bishop Hour and The Dick Van Dyke Show before developing his first sitcom, an adaptation of The Odd Couple. In the early 70s, he worked on the anthology series Love, American Style, where the character of Richie Cunningham was first introduced. That led directly into creating Happy Days, which debuted in January of 1974 and ran for 11 seasons, ending in 1984.
Garry Marshall was the brother of actress/director Penny Marshall, and was behind her first sitcom Laverne & Shirley, a spinoff of Happy Days. He gave Penny her first big break with a bit part on Happy Days that later expanded into the iconic role of Laverne Defazio. During this stretch of time, he would go onto create a vast number of other sitcoms. These included other Happy Days spinoffs Mork & Mindy and Joanie Loves Chachi, along with Donna Pescow's Angie, Blansky's Beauties, The Brian Keith Show and Hey, Landlord. The man didn't just work behind the camera, he was also a featured actor on such shows as The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and he played Stan Lansing on Murphy Brown. He later appeared on Brothers and Sisters and Louie. This past year, he showed up on an episode of CBS' new The Odd Couple sitcom reboot.
It wasn't until 182, with quite a few TV shows under his belt, that he decided to venture into the world of feature filmmaking. His first feature film was the medical comedy Young Doctors in Love starring Michael McKean of Laverne & Shirley fame along with Sean Young and another one of his iconic stable of TV actors Ted McGinley. Two years later he would direct Matt Dillon in the 80s classic The Flamingo Kid.
Throughout the 80s, he would direct several other big stars in some noteworthy movies of the time, including Tom Hanks and Jackie Gleason in Nothing in Common and Bette Midler in Beaches. He would also direct the famous Hollywood couple Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell in the comedy Overboard.
In 1990, Marshall would direct one of the biggest movies of that decade with Pretty Woman. Throughout these next ten years, he would turn in a number of other memorable films, most of them dramas. These included Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer in Frankie and Johnny and Giovanni Ribisi and Juliette Lewis in The Other Sister. He also directed Greg Kinnear in Dear God.
But Garry Marshall's true calling was always comedy, and he directed his fare share of those as well. In 1994, he would pair Dan Aykroyd and Rosie O'Donnell in Exit to Eden, and in 1999, he would reunite his Pretty Woman stars Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Runaway Bride.
By the 2000s, Marshall was mostly working in the world of feature films. It was during this decade that he directed both Princess Diaries movies. He would direct a number of other romanic comedies such as Kate Hudson's Raising Helen and Georgia Rule, which starred Jane Fonda, Lindsay Lohan and Felicity Huffman. He would end his filmmaking career with what has become known as the Greeting Card trilogy, or the holiday trilogy, three ensemble romantic comedies that brought together some big name talent. The movies included 2010's Valentine's Day, 2011's New Year's Eve, and his final film as a director Mother's Day, which debuted in April of this year.
Garry Marshall also wrote the biography Wake Me When It's Funny: How to Break into Show Business and Stay There. He is known for always including a baseball scene in his movies. He is survived by his wife Barbara Marshall and his 3 children. Condolences go out to his family and friends in this time of grief.